Politics Virus causes surge in WW II references, but is it merited? Updated : March 25, 2020 02:07 PM IST Do the World War II comparisons really hold up, or is it just a convenient metaphor? Here’s a look at the connections between the two eras — and the fundamental differences as well. In World War II, 3 per cent of the world’s population died; of an estimated 2.3 billion people, 85 million perished. With a current global populace of some 7.7 billion, a similar death toll from the pandemic would mean 231 million dead.